Why Do You Need Automation Tools for LinkedIn?
Due to its search options, LinkedIn is a huge lead list. To help B2B marketers and sales reps navigate sales lead generation on LinkedIn, the platform has its own automation products — LinkedIn Sales Navigator and LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator
You can use LinkedIn Sales Navigator for automated searching and connecting with target audiences, automated messaging to your first-level connections, creating personalized messages, and automatic following and unfollowing functions.
However, LinkedIn Sales Navigator has no automation functionality. Alongside a free thirty-day trial, LinkedIn Sales Navigator offers three pricing options: Professional $64.99/month, team $103.33/month, and custom package for enterprises.
Who will get the most from using LinkedIn Sales Navigator, especially keeping in mind its rather high prices? Experienced LinkedIn users who want to take their lead gen game to a new level may find out that the experience and results are worth it. The advanced features LinkedIn Sales Navigator offers include:
- Advanced lead and company search, offering great filtering options.
- Customized lead recommendation, which suggests prospects based on your customers and deals.
- Advanced filtering, which can help you personalize your messages beyond the generic “I love what you do. Would love to connect.” Filter for job change alerts and groups, and you will have more topics to warm your connections up.
- CRM integration, allowing users to track their sales and relationship-building activity.
- Log sales activity, integrated with your CRM, automatically saves leads and accounts users are dealing with.
Sounds pretty impressive, right? What’s wrong, then? One of the biggest cons of LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a lack of automation as all these actions are expected to be done manually.
LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms
In 2017, LinkedIn launched its own automation tool, LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms, based on pre-filled forms. Together with Sponsored Content and Message Ads, LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms is a function to boost lead generation for businesses. With Lead Gen Forms, LinkedIn provides businesses with an option not only to show their ads to users but also to suggest them to answer the questions businesses need to know in order to make their lead generation more effective. The features LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms offer:
- Autofill form, taking information from the users’ profiles and saving their time.
- Custom questions, enabling marketers to ask whatever they need to know, going beyond the common name, job title, and email address.
As for pricing, marketers pay for ad campaigns and get the option LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms on-demand with no additional cost.
These options definitely help users boost their LinkedIn accounts and connect with more people than ever before. However, native LinkedIn tools for lead generation clearly lack automation per se. So far, the LinkedIn policy has been to get all accounts connected in a human-like fashion.
At the same time, the market is saturated with top LinkedIn automation tools. Can marketers use them? Yes, but with caution, as LinkedIn protects its users from spam and frowns upon automated messaging that lacks personalization and is carried out in an unnatural manner.
LinkedIn Automation Tools Restriction
Given a rather limited amount and nature of authorized LinkedIn tools for lead generation, the market has responded to the demand, and now there are many automation tools that you can integrate with LinkedIn. However, automation on LinkedIn must be used with caution.
LinkedIn is clear about its rules and does not allow “the use of any third-party software, including "crawlers", bots, browser plug-ins, or browser extensions (also called "add-ons") that scrapes, modifies the appearance of, or automates activity on LinkedIn's website.” Violation of LinkedIn rules of use may result in permanent restrictions of your LinkedIn account.
When choosing among LinkedIn automation tools, keep LinkedIn rules in mind and avoid:
- bulk messaging;
- going over LinkedIn message limit;
- going over LinkedIn account visit limit;
- scraping data to sell;
- spamming contacts;
- sending generic messages.
When used properly and with caution, LinkedIn automation tools can increase your business’ reach and significantly scale your sales.
Third-Party LinkedIn Automation
What is LinkedIn automation, then?
It is a variety of third-party tools that automate any social media activity users typically do manually: sending out connection requests, following up, messaging, etc. LinkedIn automation started as plugins in web browsers, but a wave of restrictions and bans on LinkedIn resulted in the second generation of automation tools which are more difficult for the platform to detect as they are cloud-based.
Browser-Based LinkedIn Automation Software
Usually, browser-based automation tools are Chrome extensions or plugins. Their characteristics are:
- Run-time is limited. They run as long as a browser is opened up.
- Easy to detect. LinkedIn has notoriously detected some browser-based automation activity through browser caching.
- Using different IP addresses when logging in. This type of activity draws LinkedIn’s attention, which can result in account restriction.
- Limited number of advanced features.
The list of the top Chrome-based LinkedIn automation tools includes:
Cloud-Based LinkedIn Automation Software
Having addressed the issues of browser-based automation, the new generation of automation tools is cloud-based and integrated with your LinkedIn account. As a result, their characteristics are:
- Runs 24/7.
- Dedicated IP address from your location assigned to each account.
- Harder to detect. LinkedIn has no access to it as it uses no browser-based tools.
- Flexible personalization and other advanced features.
The list of the best cloud-based LinkedIn automation tools includes, but is not limited to:
Top LinkedIn Automation Tools: Chrome-Based Browser Extensions
Lempod’s primary function is driving LinkedIn engagement by sharing posts within a group referred to as a ‘pod.’ It makes use of LinkedIn algorithms that show popular posts to more people, Lempod gathers users in pods according to their interests. Being limited to one post a day, each member gets automated likes and comments from other members in the pod. Using Lempod enables users to join over 1,000 different pods. More likes and comments bring more views and increased engagement and a growing LinkedIn network, as a result.
Who may benefit most from Lempod? Marketers and sales reps who need more new contacts and want to improve their brand visibility and awareness.
Pricing. $2 per user in a pod per month for private business pod membership; $5 per pod per month for the Marketplace option.
The main functionality of LinkedHelper2 includes boosting your brand visibility and personalizing automated messages. LinkedHelper2 integrates with Sales Navigator and LinkedIn Recruiter.
The activity of the previous version, LinkedHelper, was rather easily detected by LinkedIn, getting many a number of LinkedIn accounts suspended permanently. The developers quickly launched an improved version, LinkedHelper 2, that promises unparalleled safety. LinkedHelper2’s safety stems from its web-browser-based nature: The automation tool needs neither to call LinkedIn API nor embed its code into the LinkedIn page.
Who may benefit most from LinkedHelper2? Anyone who wants to automate any mundane task on a social media platform, such as messaging, connecting, inviting, etc.
Pricing. With a free trial period available, LinkedHelper2 offers $8.25 to $15 per month, depending on the package.
Reply.io’s focus is on the personalization of large-scale outreach on multiple platforms, including LinkedIn. Assisting marketers and salespeople to automate their business communication, Reply also enriches prospect data (automatically updates your account with new email addresses you find on LinkedIn), connects with the key decision-makers from your target accounts, and sorts out the warmest representatives of your target audience with advanced filters so that you get only high-quality B2B sales leads.
Who may benefit most from Reply? Those who have multiple channels and want to have a more integrated customer acquisition experience. Also, keep in mind that some CRMs will require Zapier alongside Reply.
Pricing. For sales engagement, business plans start from $50 per month per user, individual plans start from $70 per month per user, while agencies request a quote. For email search, a free option is available, as well as $49 and $99 plans.
Dux-Soup is an easy-to-use extractor tool that integrates with LinkedIn and sends connection requests and personalized messages on your behalf without violating LinkedIn day limits. Also, Dux-Soup skips previously visited profiles and filters out accounts, such as Premium Members, Job Seekers, Influences, and Open Link members.
Who may benefit most from Dux-Soup? Having a limited repertoire of advanced outreach and safety features, Dux-Soup is an excellent automation tool for beginners who want to automate their basic LinkedIn actions. However, Dux-Soup has limited personalization features and cannot be used to manage multiple accounts.
Pricing. For individuals, Dux-Soup offers a Professional plan at $11.25 per user/month and a Turbo Dux plan at $41.25 per month (two-way CRM integration and tracking your LinkedIn activity into your KPI dashboard).
Crystal is a personalization tool, well-suited for prospecting on LinkedIn. Built on the principles of DISC personality insights, Crystal assesses your prospect’s LinkedIn profile within the framework of Dominant, Influential, Steady, and Conscientious characteristics (DISC). Using Crystal’s AI-based engine helps B2B marketers personalize messaging more effectively. Getting insight into someone’s personality helps you hone your communication choices, for example, to reach out through LinkedIn or email, address their rebellious streak, or start discussing a mutual hobby, etc.
Who may benefit most from Crystal? Those who already have some automation software and are in need of intelligent suggestions about the prospects’ favorite preferred channels of communication, personality features, and other details that help personalize their cold outreach.
Pricing. Start for free and get insights on up to 10 clients. A monthly plan is $19 per month.
Best LinkedIn Automation Tools: Cloud-Based
Expandi is, by many accounts, the safest tool for LinkedIn automation because it perfectly emulates human behavior. Offering a wide range of automated actions, Expandi follows the random delay between messages and connection requests just like human users do. All standard features for LinkedIn automation are enhanced on Expandi:
- dynamic personalization, in cooperation with Hyperise, going beyond the first name and company name templates (for example, Expandi pulls images from your prospect’s profile and includes them in your messages);
- multichannel integration, allowing Expandi to hook to other marketing tools;
- smart targeting, allowing users to find people engaged with some popular LinkedIn posts, extract their profile details via Expandi, and target them via messages in your next marketing campaign;
- smart messaging, sending up to 100 invites and 100 messages per day and automatically withdrawing your pending invites;
- smart inbox, enabling users to organize their LinkedIn inboxes;
- new proxy IP address, assigned to each account and their advanced algorithm, replicating human behavior, and ensuring safety when using Expandi.
Who may benefit most from Expandi? Those who switch between different accounts many times throughout the day, for example, agencies, lead generation teams, and people managing multiple LinkedIn accounts.
Pricing. With only one pricing option at $99 per month, Expandi offers a free seven-day trial to test it out first.
Saleshub.ai. combines email automation and LinkedIn outreach due to the Hyperise integration. As a result, the user can send hyper-personalized messages with images to real people, excluding bots, due to the email finder and verification feature. Cold prospecting and data enrichment are possible, too. A workflow/sequence builder is easy to use.
Who may benefit most from Saleshub.Ai? Those who are interested in account-based marketing. Salehub is a versatile platform with advanced features, and there’s no need to pay for it if you cannot make good use of it.
Pricing. Paid plans start at $79.99/user/month, plus a complicated system of add-ons, such as technology integration, sub-accounts, visitor tracking, white-label, and extra automation.
Phantombuster is a code-free data extraction software that helps businesses automate sales, schedule tasks, organize marketing processes on social media, and attract the right target audience. Working with Instagram, Google, and Twitter, Phantombuster has the following automated features for LinkedIn: Data scraping from LinkedIn profiles, sending connection requests, sending personalized messages to connections, commenting, and liking on posts.
For more effect, Phantombuster is recommended to use with another personalization tool. The Hyperise integration will double your conversions.
Who may benefit most from Phantombuster? Those who know their way around lead generation and automation on LinkedIn. To see greater growth, use Phantombuster to scrape LinkedIn profiles for user data and apply a different LinkedIn automation tool to reach out to them.
Pricing. It is possible to use Phantombuster free of charge if your requirements are modest. Their pricing starts from $30 per month, with the Premium plan $900 per month.
Prospect.io is a multichannel sales automation platform that searches for prospects’ data, generates lead lists, and automates cold emails. Prospect.io uses a Chrome extension and integrates with Salesforce, Zapier, Hubspot, Close.io, Pipedrive, and Slack. Regarding LinkedIn automation, it is possible to set up a list of triggering actions that set off a message sequence, such as deal created, deal lost, list created, etc.
Who may benefit most from Prospect.io? Those who do a lot of cold messaging on LinkedIn and want to scale their outreach using a third-party CRM.
Pricing. The Base plan of $19 per month per user offers two CRM integrations and unlimited prospects. However, the email finder feature gets available for $39 for 250 credits and $99 for 1000 credits per month.
Octopus CRM is LinkedIn automation software that automates bulk messaging to your first-level contacts, message personalization to the second and third-level connections, bulk connection requests, and profile viewing. Octopus helps B2B marketers build their marketing and lead generation funnels on LinkedIn.
Who may benefit most from Octopus CRM? Those who have LinkedIn Premium and have a need to mine large amounts of lead data (LinkedIn limits the number of outreach messages in regular accounts.)
Pricing. Octopus’s pricing plans are very reasonable: From Starter for $6.99 per month to Unlimited for $24.99 per month.
Zopto is a LinkedIn outreach automation tool aimed to increase engagement, improve targeting through advanced filters, and manage leads on the platform. The filtering option goes beyond user name and company name and searches by location, the number of followers, industry, seniority level, company size, technology, etc. Zopto allows users to regulate levels of engagement through such setting options: Free InMail messages, Sequential Messaging, Connection Invites, advanced reporting, Profile View Generator, Twitter Engagement, and others. Using Hyperise will improve your LinkedIn automation experience.
Who may benefit most from Zopto? Those who already have a LinkedIn Premium or Sales Navigator account and want easy-to-use software and more leads. Zopto is good not only for sales and marketing teams but for any LinkedIn user who is looking for targeted audiences (recruiters looking for the right candidates, startups looking for investors, etc.)
Pricing. A paid plan for personal use for $215 per month includes one-to-one strategy calls and access to Email and Chat Support and Customer Success Manager. For managing two accounts, the price is $395 per month, while agencies get charged $895 per month.
Salesloop.io is an automation tool specifically made to avoid traditional LinkedIn pitfalls, such as different IPs, too many requests sent per hour, etc. Using LinkedIn’s filters and search engine, Salesloop creates a lead list and then personalizes, schedules, and automates message sequences. One of the greatest Salesloop’s features is unenrolling a prospect from the message sequence after they responded, so you can get back to them yourself. In addition to many integrations, Salesloop allows users to manage multiple accounts.
Who may benefit most from Salesloop? Those who want to scale their sales prospecting on LinkedIn.
Pricing. Connect to 1 LinkedIn account for $49 per month, up to 6 accounts for $199 per month, fully managed LinkedIn outreach service for $799 per month.
On a Final Note
No business or personal account can maintain activity and access as many connections as they would want to make their lead generation effective. To make proper use of LinkedIn opportunities, accounts engaged in B2B marketing and sales inevitably need to use automation to scale and generate new leads faster.
Many sales automation platforms include LinkedIn outreach management into their features, knowing that lead generation is going on on social media, too. Browser-based software generally tends to be inexpensive yet less safe, whereas the best LinkedIn automation tools are cloud-based.
Weighing the pros and cons of each tool on the list, many B2B marketers would prefer to pair simpler lead generation tools with more advanced features of expensive sales management platforms.
If you are looking for an affordable compromise, contact Belkins team for consultation, advice, and lead generation through LinkedIn.